Technical

Asked & Answered: What is the Sound Performance of BuildBlock ICFs?

Asked-&-Answered

In general, it is important to limit noise and sound transmission through walls. While important in residential structures, this is especially critical in certain commercial structures such as hospitals, movie theaters, concert halls,hotels and airports that require substantial noise reduction. Homes built on noisy streets or near interstate highways will benefit from reduced sound transmission. Lastly, many builders are using BuildBlock ICFs for sound proofing in interior rooms such as a home theaters and media rooms.  Insulating Concrete Forms, (ICFs) can be used to construct nearly any type of building, and offer a wealth of benefits to the builder and the

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BuildBlock ICF Above Ground Safe Rooms

Tornado season is upon us, and once again, we in the Midwest and Southeast will see thunderstorms forming and rolling across the plains, and we will look up and wonder if that is just a low hanging cloud, or something more ominous. Safety is of primary concern during a tornado.  It is an immensely powerful, destructive force, which can devastate anything in its path. Historically we in the plains states have been told to move to the middle of your home and either open or close windows depending on who you have listened to.  If you had the luxury of

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Asked & Answered: Applying Stucco on BuildBlock ICF Forms

Asked-&-Answered

You can use nearly any finish including applying stucco on BuildBlock ICF Forms Stucco can be applied directly over the ICF, without a membrane above grade; below-grade requires waterproofing). Some contractors will use paper or house wrap behind the stucco, but it’s not necessary. For traditional stucco, a mechanical attachment is required (metal lath screwed to the wall through the plastic webs, or similar attachment). The mechanical attachment is not required when using BuildCrete or other EIFS systems. BuildCrete is a single coat product applied in 3 steps. An initial coat, essentially a scratch coat, is placed on the wall, then a fiberglass mesh is

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Asked & Answered: What is the expected lifetime of the expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam?

Asked-&-Answered

Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) is essentially inert. There have been multiple studies of EPS in the soil for 15 to 30 years demonstrating only minor degradation of the EPS foam. EPS foam is expanded using steam. It is the entrained air that provide the insulation value in the material. EPS is a plastic and aside from contact with hydrocarbons or exposure to UV from sunlight, it is relatively unaffected by other naturally degrading processes. Geofoam® placed in the ground for decades increased its compression resistance (strength). The lifespan of EPS is long, potentially unlimited. Most of the testing has involved placing

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White Paper- Vapor Barriers (Retarders) and Air Barriers

Air and moisture can get into a home a number of ways. Convective transfer involves moving air, such as adraft around a window or door, electrical boxes, or other wall penetrations. Diffusion refers to moisture moving through a material, similar to a sponge soaking up water. Cavity wall construction typically with fiberglass battsplaced into the cavities between studs allows air to pass through, and requires an additional, separate vapor barrier, typically polyethylene sheet (Visqueen) or kraft paper facing on the fiberglass batts. Continuous insulation (EPS foam or XPS foam) can also be used as a vapor barrier. Vapor barriers, or more properly worded,retarders, must

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White Paper- R-value and Performance of BuildBlock and BuildLock Knockdown Insulating Concrete Forms

The R-value is a measure of thermal resistance used in the building and construction industry and is generally understood to indicate how efficient the insulation value of the material or product. R-value under uniform conditions it is the ratio of the temperature difference across an insulator and the heat flux (heat transfer per unit area per unit time, QA) through it or R=ΔT/QA. Thermal resistance varies with temperature but it is common practice in construction to treat it as a constant value. (A common method is to standardize the temperature at which the values are reported. (75° typical) (1). BuildBlock

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Asked & Answered: Is there an advantage to using wood bucks for window/door openings versus V-buck?

Asked-&-Answered

The majority of heat loss in an ICF home comes through wall openings such as windows and doors. You want to ensure that you have maintained as much insulation as possible around your openings. We have recommended V-buck for a number of years, but sadly they are no longer in business. Disadvantages of wood window and door bucking Wood is an organic food source for mold, mildew, and other hazards. Wood is a potential food source for infestations such as termites. Wood will also decay over time and there is a potential for wood to react to the chemicals in concrete causing damage. During

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Asked & Answered: Recycling Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Foam

Asked-&-Answered

Recycling Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Foam Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs) are made up to two different types of materials EPS foam and polypropylene plastic webs. One of the questions we frequently get is whether Styrofoam™ or EPS foam can be recycled. All ICFs use some recycled material. Recycled material is mixed with new virgin material and manufactured into ICFs and other goods. One of the reasons EPS is such a great insulation is that it is 95% air. This makes EPS foam very light and easy to transport, but it takes lot of space in both distribution and in landfills. Recycling removes it from landfills

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BuildBlock FieldNotes – 006 ICF Safe Rooms

FieldNotes 006 ICF Safe Rooms

We’ve all seen what happens on the news when disaster strikes: shattered homes and lives after the tornado or hurricane, smoking ash after the wildfire, and collapsed rubble after the earthquake. Disasters happen when we least expect them,but are something we need to be prepared for. We wear seat belts and have airbags because we have car accidents.  Our buildings have smoke alarms and sprinkler systems because we have fire.  We keep weather radios and have radar to keep us aware of severe weather. The majority of residential homes in the US are built out of wood.  There is a better way

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Asked & Answered: What is the Prescriptive Method and why do we talk about it?

Asked-&-Answered

What is the Prescriptive Method? The Prescriptive Method for Insulating Concrete Forms in Residential Construction is the accepted method for installation, general engineering, and standard for ICF home design. The Prescriptive Method for Insulating Concrete Forms in Residential Construction is a document, originally drafted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which has been incorporated into the International Residential Code (IRC, Section R611) and which gives a general engineering design for use with ICF, within the most common home sizes. The Prescriptive Method provides engineering tables showing reinforcement specifications for common wall heights and openings, as well as

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